- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint, Translation edition (December 16, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802143881
- ISBN-13: 978-0802143884
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,661,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lost Paradise: A Novel Paperback – December 16, 2008
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"Recalls, in tone, Vladimir Nabokov ... delicately allusive and rich, even ripely comic."
"Nooteboom's short novels--dreamy, fable-like, self-reflective--should appeal to anyone who likes, say, Italo Calvino or Paul Auster..... One could hardly ask for a more intelligent evening's entertainment."
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Here, in Lost Paradise (Paradis verloren) the reader is thrown into an intense world of dreaming and fate and before anything makes sense, where you feel as if the characters have been fully revealed, the scenery changes. The book is divided into two: we have in the first section, the Brazilian girls and their exploration of Australia and then, in the latter part, we have the cynical Dutch journalist in Austria for his spa treatment week. Alma, the one who most needs to escape is emotionally wounded from a terrible night in Sao Paolo and her friend carries her along, keeping her friend in check. While in Perth, they get involved in an Angel Project wherein actors pose as angels in various places throughout the city.
When we read the second half that focus on Erik, we learn the older man and the young Alma have met before. Why is she now in Austria?
The book is fun and light despite the heavier themes. It is brisk and certainly inspires a second reading. In some way I would say the book flirts with the reader. The reader is like a foolish man at a bar. He buys the woman (the book) a drink and in conversation, the attractive woman hints at taking their encounter further. The hopeful but foolish man can't wait. She says she needs to freshen up and then disappears. And the reader, alone at the end, is trying to put it all together.
If you read this book be prepared for its atypical stylings. I wouldn't say I loved it but it is definitely memorable and leaves an impression. If anything, it will motivate you to read more from this modern Dutch master of prose and storytelling.
What do Alma and Erik, whose first encounter is in Australia, have in common? From what are they each escaping, and what impact will their journeys and destinations have on their futures?
`Angels do not exist and yet they are divided into orders much like the hierarchy in an army.'
This compact, beautifully written novel demonstrates how it is possible to write effectively and economically while exploring complex themes. This is a book to treasure. It is also the first book of Mr Nooteboom's I have read and I will be looking for English translations of his other works.
I recommend this novel highly.